Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Peach Pie and Peach Ice Cream

I've been making this peach pie for years and years.
The recipe is adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

Line a nine inch pie dish with a pie crust of your choice.
I'd say you need around six ripe peaches.
Drop them one by one in a pot of boiling water
for a few seconds. Then drop them in a pot of cold water.
Remove the skins. I used to halve the peaches
and put them cut side up in the pie dish but
I think they look nicer cut in sixths and arranged
like flower petals. Take 5 tablespoons melted butter,
2 tablespoons flour, 2/3 cup sugar and one egg
and beat it together. Pour it over the peaches in the
pie crust. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Reduce
the heat to 300and bake for another 50 minutes.

That's it.

The recipe for brown sugar peach ice cream
comes from Gourmet. It has a pinch of
cinnamon and nutmeg but because of the
brown sugar kind of tastes like pie itself.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

After Apple Picking

On Sunday mornings during the summer we like to stop at the farmers' market in Morristown before shopping anywhere else. These are some pictures we took today - not only of the newly picked apples, which are beginning to appear, but other colorful fruits and vegetables as well.

The squash table (not for the game)

The pepper table

The berry table

The apple table

The peach table

The corn table

The bean table

Local poet picking (out) apples

And now another poet's take on picking fruit.

Robert Frost (1874–1963). From North of Boston. 1915.

"After Apple-picking"

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Guest blogger JAT

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Honey Madeleines - For Creta Kano

This is an entry for Autumn 2009 Novel Food.

I'm working on a series about food in
Haruki Murakami's novels. I talked about Creta
Kano in my posting on baklava.

Here we meet Creta Kano for the first time in The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.
She has come as a representative of her sister Malta.
Malta has been engaged by Mrs. Okada to find their cat.
The narrator is Mr. Okada aka Mr. Wind-up Bird.

So this was Creta Kano. I showed her in, had her sit on the sofa,
warmed the coffe, and served her a cup. Had she eaten lunch yet?
I asked. She looked hungry to me. No, she said, she had not eaten.

"But don't bother about me," she hastened to add. "I don't eat
much of anyting for lunch.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "It's nothing for me to fix a sandwich.
Don't stand on ceremony. I make snacks and things
all the time. It's no trouble at all."

She responded with little shakes of the head. "It's very
kind of you to offer, but I'm fine, really. Don't bother.
A cup of coffee is more than enough."

Still, I brought out a plate of cookies just in case. Creta
Kano ate four of them with obvious pleasure. I ate two and
drank my coffee.

She seemed somewhat more relaxed after the cookies and coffee.

So here we lay out the coffee and cookies for Creta.
They're really cakes but that's OK. They are made
with honey which as we know Creta loves.

Naturally I bring out the Havilland china for Creta.

After she tells her long story she vanishes.

This recipe is from French Tea - The Pleasures of the Table by Carole Manchester.

Madeleines au Miel
Honey Madeleines

3 large egg whites
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely ground blanched almonds
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat the over to 400F. Butter two madeleine tins.
(I used a silicone madeleine mold. I have bad luck
getting madeleines out of their mold.)

In a bowl, beat egg whites till they hold soft peaks.
Gradually add the sugar, and beat until the whites hold
still peaks. Alternately fold in the flour and almonds in
2 or 3 additions. In a small bowl, combine the honey and
melted butter. Gently fold the misture into the whites until
thoroughly incorporated. Spoon the batter into the madeleine
molds, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for
8 to 10 minutes, or until the madeleins are golden at the
edges. (Mine came out too dark.) Let cool in the pan for
5 minutes, then invert them onto a rack and let cool.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rosewater Almond Tea Cookies

I first heard of these cookies from a photo contest on
the beautiful Palachinka.
They are from the equally beautiful Baking Obsession.
It is a very simple recipe but one of those
fine examples of something far exceeding
the sum of its parts.

I made a small addition to the recipe.
I covered each cookie with a little rose petal
preserves and added an icing made from
confectioners' sugar and rosewater.
And also a little piece of crystallized
rose petal. Talk about gilding the lily!!!

I got to use some food coloring that my daughter
brought me back from Italy. I love that kind of stuff.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lemon Cake

Sometimes lemon cake is what is in order.

Lemon cake goes very well with crystallized violets.

Here's the cake all wrapped up to go to a special function.
And here's a bouquet of flowers to enjoy.

I found this recipe in the New York Times.
It says it was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!" by
Ina Garten.

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup crated lemon zest (use one of the microplane gadgets, they're great)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Heat oven to 350 F degrees.
Line two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans
with parchment paper.

Cream butter and 2 cups sugar together for about 5 minutes
till light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then
the lemon zest.

Sift flour, baking powder, pabking soda and salt together.
Mix 1/4 cup lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk
mixtures alterately to butter and sugar mixture, beginning
and ending with flour.
Divide batter between pans and bake for 45 minutes
to 1 hour until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a samall saucepan,
and cook over low heat till sugar dissolves.

When cakes are done, let them cool 10 minutes. Invert them on a rack set
over a tray and spoon lemon syrup over cakes. Let
cakes cool completely.

For glaze, combine confectioners' sugar and remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons
lemon juice in a owl, mixing till smooth.
Poor over top of cakes, and allow glaze to drizzle down the sides.

I think crystallized violets are a must.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I love black olives and anchovies. I never ever get to have
them when we order pizza so I have to make my own.

This recipe comes from A French Chef Cooks at Home
by Jaques Pepin.

For the dough 3 1/2 cups to 4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup lukewarm water
2 packages dry yeast
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Mix the water and yeast together until
the yeast is dissolved.
Mix all ingredients together until the dough is satiny
and smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with a towel and let rise
until it is i double in bulk.

Punch down the dough and divide into halves. Spread each
half on a cookie sheet. Spread to obtain two wheels, each
at least 12 inches in diameter. The dough will be thicker on the

I don't make mine on a cookie sheet. I use a preheated
baking stone. That way you get a really nice

Here you get to see how much my oven needs cleaning!!!

2 1/2 pounds onions peeled and sliced very thin
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves (believe it or not this makes a big difference)
4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and chopped fine

Place all ingredients except garlic into
a large kettle and bring to a boil. Let boil
on high heat until all the water has evaporated
(about 12 to 14 minutes). By this time the onions
are cooked. Keep cooking on medium heat to
brown the nions slightly (about 8 minutes),
mixing once in a while. Add the garlic, mix,
and set aside.

2 Dozen anchovy fillets in oil
1 cup of small dry black olives

Spread the onion mixture evenly on both wheels.
Arrange the anchovy fillets on top
in a crisscross patter and scatter the olives
on the surface. Cook in a preheated (IMPORTANT!!!)
425 F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the dough
is nicely browned.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baklava - For Creta Kano

This is my entry for Autumn 2009 Novel Food.

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
is one of my favorite books. Many strange things
happen in his books but the food is plain
and is an anchor in the storms of life.

I love the character Creta Kano. She is a cipher.
She has a very strange story to tell and
tells it in a dead pan manner that knocks you over.
Also, she enters in to people's lives with bizarre consequences.
In any event she likes honey. So I'm going to
find all the good honey recipes I can for her.

Here is an excerpt from The Wind-up Bird Chronicle:

"I am here today as the representative of
my elder sister, Malta Kano," she said. "Creta
is not my real name, of course. My real name is Setsuko.
I took the name Creta when I began working as my
sister's assistant. For professional purposes. Creta
is the ancient name for the island of Crete, but I have
no connection with Crete. I have never been there.
My sister Malta chose the name to go with her own.
Have you ever been to the island of Crete, by any chance,
Mr. Okada?"

Unfortunately not, I said. I had never been to Crete
and had no plans to visit in the near future.

"I would like to go there sometime," said Creta Kano,
nodding with a deadly serious look on her face. "Crete
is the Greek island closest to Africa. It's a large island, and a
civilization flourished there long ago. My sister Malta has
been to Crete as well. She says it's a wonderful place.
The wind is strong, and the honey is delicious.
I love honey."

I figure that baklava is a good place to start.
This recipe is adapted from Greek Cooking by
Ruth Bauder Kershner.

Honey Syrup:

1 tablespoon rosewater
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 2-inch piece stick cinnamon
4 whole cloves
1 cup honey

Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves in a
heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat
and continue cooking without stirring for 25 minutes.
Stir in the honey and rosewater. Remove the spices.
Allow to cool.

1/2/ pound sweet butter, melted
1 pound phyllo sheets
3 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1/1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Brush a 13x9x2 inch baking dish with some of
the melted butter. Brush a piece of phyllo
dough with butter, fold in half and place
in pan. Repeat.

Combine the nuts, and sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
Take 1/2 cup of the nut mixture and spread over the dough
in the pan. Butter and fold 2 more sheets of dough.
Add 1/2 cup of the nut mixture. Keep putting 2 folded
pieces of dough and 1/2 of the nut mixture in layers till
finished. Top with at least two more buttered, folded
pieces of dough. Score the top of the baklava with a
very sharp knive to make diamonds.
Bake at 325 F for 50 minutes. Pour the cooled syrup over the
pastry and cool. Cover and let stand overnight.

Please note that the phyllo dough I used has been
cut in half and there was no need to fold it over.
So where I called for 2 folded buttered sheets of
dough I actually used 4 sheets of the smaller size.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pastrami Sloppy Joe

Sorry the pictures are so blurry.

When I was growing up a Sloppy
Joe was hamburger meat in
some kind of tomato sauce
served on a hamburger bun.
A Manwich is a kind of
Sloppy Joe. When I moved
to NJ a hundred years ago
I learned of a different sort
of Sloppy Joe. I've never
seen a sandwich anywhere else
like it except NJ.
You can order turkey,
ham, roast beef and
even pastrami Sloppy Joes.

The sandwich consists of 3
slices of rye bread, whatever meat you
have chosen,swiss cheese, russian
dressing and coleslaw.
They are usually cut in
three pieces because
the sandwich is so big. Also,
there are really and truly
probably close to 2,000
calories in them.

A lot of times people have Sloppy Joe
Platters where they are cut in small
rectangles and you have a variety of meats.

I love them. They are one of the few things
that make New Jersey bearable. My favorite
was always turkey but now since I was introduced
to pastrami by an officemate, I'll have to
say its pastrami.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Banana Pudding

Banana pudding is a big favorite
at my house.I got this recipe
from the lovely Cafe Chocolada.
She puts hers in individual glasses.
I prefer to put mine in one dish.
This version of the pudding is
nicely flavored with cinnamon,
a vanilla bean and nutmeg.

Tennyson's Pudding

Today is Alfred Tennyson's 200th Birthday. We thought it would be fun to honor him by posting an old recipe for a pudding that he supposedly enjoyed at a tavern in London called The Old Cheshire Cheese. The New York Times published an article about it in 1910, long before the days of the Travel or Food (now Dining) and Wine sections known to the readers of today. Today's readers might find some of the ingredients a little odd - how many of you have eaten anything lately made with sheep's kidneys and larks? - but the tone of the article itself has the familiar feeling of a travel piece reporting on the favorite haunt of celebrities abroad. Of course, in this case the celebrities ("well-known men" in the parlance of the time) include the likes of Tennyson, Dickens, and J. P. Morgan. Can it be that one must eat a lark to sing like a lark? In any event, here is a link to a PDF of the article: "World-Famous Pudding; Many Well-Known Men Have Enjoyed It." (March 20, 1910, Sunday Section: MAGAZINE SECTION, Page SM11, 1018 words.)

And here is something perhaps more savory: one of Tennyson's best known and loveliest poems.

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.

From guest blogger JAT

Monday, August 3, 2009

Roasted Red Peppers

Sunday was a dark rainy day. We went to the
farmer's market in hopes of getting some
organic milk. Alas, the woman was not there.
We did come home with these lovely red peppers.
What better thing to do on a very rainy day than
to roast red peppers. My husband is Italian and the
smell reminded him of when his grandmother used
to roast peppers. The smell is wonderful

Take your pepper and put it directly on the

It should be charred all over.

Put it in a paper bag for a few minutes.

The steam will help loosen up the skin and make
it easier to peel.

Scrape off all the charred skin.

Remove the seeds and cut into slices and
put in a dish and add a nice amount of olive oil.
And some slivered garlic too.

Quiche Lorraine

I used to make this in a 10 1/2 inch flan ring but the dough kept shrinking
and the filling spilled all over the place. Its still good like this.

This recipe is from Jaques Pepin's A French Chef Cooks at Home.


1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sweet butter
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/4 cup cold water

Work the flour, salt, butter and shortening together until you have
a coarse yellow mixture. Sprinkle on the water
and gather together into a ball. Chill for 1 hour.
Roll out and line a 10 1/2 inch flan ring (I use a 9 inch pie


1/4 pound bacon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
5 ounces Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese, diced

Cut the bacon into small strips and blanch
in boiling water for 3 minutes.

Beat the eggs. Stir in milk, cream, salt and pepper.
Scatter the bacon and cheese over the bottom of the
pie, add the egg mixture and bake in a preheated 400 F
oven for one hour. Remove and let cool. It is best
after it has rested at least 20 minutes. Serve lukewarm.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Apricot Preserves

There is nothing like the smell making apricot preserves. We used to live in a tiny little hideous house. There was one nice thing about it. We had a little apricot tree. One year we had a bumper crop. Maybe two dozen apricots. I made preserves with it. The whole house smelled wonderful. And they tasted wonderful too. I love the color apricot. I'm planning to paint my hall that color. Also, apricot blossoms if you are ever lucky enough to get a chance to smell them are lovely.

My mother loves my apricot preserves. This recipe comes from Delia Smith.

Take two pounds of apricots. Cut them in half and save the
kernels. Take two pounds of sugar. Layer the apricots and
sugar in a large pan and let sit overnight. Take the kernels
and crack them and blanch the pits.

The next day, bring the apricots and sugar to a boil slowly.
Boil them for about twenty minutes until set. That means that
if you pour a drop or two on a plate that has been in the freezer
and it keeps shape for a while and tastes kind of jelly like,
you know you are done. Add about half of the apricot pits.
They taste like almonds.

Put the preserves in steralized jars. Wipe off the rims
and seal. Process the preserves fo 10 minutes.

I got the apricots at the farmer's market.
Usually apricots are so expensive I feel bad
about buying them. But these were reasonably priced.

This recipe made 5 six ounce jars.

What a lovely color!!!